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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Research: are termination rates as high as previously thought?

A new research paper,  published by the journal Prenatal Diagnosis, provides more up-to-date information and analysis of the termination rates of pregnancies in the US, in which a diagnosis of Down syndrome has been made prenatally, indicating lower rates than have been found in earlier international studies (60 - 85%, rather than more than 90%).

The researchers concluded that  from US data alone ...

This systematic review presents the largest synthesis of United States data on termination rates following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Evidence suggests that termination rates are lower than noted in a previous review that was based on less contemporary studies and had an international focus. Heterogeneity across studies suggests that a summary termination rate may not be applicable to the entire US population.\\The full text of the paper is freely available online here.

Jaime L. Natoli, Deborah L. Ackerman, Suzanne McDermott, Janice G. Edwards, Prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome: a systematic review of termination rates (1995–2011), Prenatal Diagnosis, Vol 32, Issue 2, pp 142–153, February 2012

Dr Adam Wolfberg, a Boston obstetrician, neonatalogist and medical writer explains for The Atlantic magazine, why the data might vary internationally, and over time.  He also speculates that new non-invasive prenatal diagnostic tests might or might not result in the dramatic drop in birth incidence widely anticipated.

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